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Lone Pine Alum Gaonkar Hires From Rivals Third Point, Maverick for Hedge Fund Launch

By Bloomberg

(Bloomberg) -- Former Lone Pine Capital Managing Director Mala Gaonkar is grabbing talent from industry rivals as she expects to launch her hedge fund early next year with at least $1 billion.

She hired 13 employees for her SurgoCap Partners, including personnel from Dan Loeb’s Third Point and Lee Ainslie’s Maverick Capital, according to people familiar with the matter. Gaonkar, 52, plans to build out her team further before the firm’s debut, which is planned for the first quarter.

Her five-person investment team includes Anand Krishnamurthy, former sector head of financials at Maverick who will continue that focus at SurgoCap. John Kaszuba, a 13-year Third Point veteran, will oversee data science and analytics, while Jason Hong, who worked there for almost a decade before leaving in 2020, will focus on the application of technology to health-care companies and industrials.

The team also includes Jason Kong, who will focus on private investments and previously wagered on late-stage enterprise software, fintech and consumer technology at growth-equity firm IVP; and Molly Jordan, who will target health-care investments. She previously focused on growth investing at Greenoaks Capital and also worked at TPG.

Gaonkar will be the sole portfolio manager and make final investment decisions.

SurgoCap is expected to be one of the largest upcoming hedge fund launches and among the few led by a woman. The fund will invest in publicly traded stocks and closely held startups across enterprise data, financial services, industrials, and health care and biopharma. A spokesman for New-York based SurgoCap declined to comment.

The firm’s back-office staff includes Diana Dieckman, former global head of capital introduction at Goldman Sachs Group Inc., who will oversee SurgoCap’s partnerships. Chief Operating Officer Colleen Lynch joins from Coatue Management, where she was general counsel and chief compliance officer. Felix Jimenez, who has worked at Third Point, Millennium Management and Point72 Asset Management, will be chief technology officer.

At the Sohn Investment Conference Thursday, Gaonkar said she was bullish on ServiceNow Inc., an enterprise-software company that helps automate workflow. The firm has “a meaningful runway for expansion” given that it has only penetrated 6% of a potential $200 billion market, she said. SurgoCap expects ServiceNow to generate $6.2 billion of free cash flow by 2026, helping drive shares to $820 apiece, up from the current $492.22.

Gaonkar was a founding partner of Lone Pine, which debuted in 1998. Three years later, she was named portfolio manager overseeing technology, media, internet and telecommunications investments, and she also co-headed the firm’s long-only funds. In January 2019, she was one of three people to take over day-to-day leadership after founder Steve Mandel stepped away.

A graduate of Harvard Business School, Gaonkar is a founding trustee of Surgo Ventures, a nonprofit that uses artificial intelligence and behavioral and data science to help find solutions to global health and social problems.

(Updates with Gaonkar comments on ServiceNow in eighth paragraph.)

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